Monthly Archives: May 2012

Thought for Thursday: Gulit by Association

Something that I struggle with is the idea of group culpability.  My film students just got through the triple-whammy of Good, Nuremberg, and a reading of Simon Wiesenthal’s The Sunflower, and one of the things we’ve been talking about is the level of responsibility an individual bears – if any – for the behavior of a group to which that individual belongs.  It’s something I talked to my freshmen about, as well, when Martin came to talk to them about the ways that he struggles with being German and the son of a Nazi official.

I have never really come to any clear decision about how I feel about this idea.  I mean, do I, as a modern American, have any right to feel guilty about slavery or the Native American genocide?  Do I bear responsibility for water-boarding or drone strikes, or anything else that is done in the name of my country but very much without my endorsement?  A very big part of me believes that I DO; that I, as an engaged citizen, shoulder a portion of the blame for everything bad that happens on my proverbial watch, just as I get to share in the celebration of good things that happen.  That being said, I’m also not so arrogant to think that I’m powerful enough to directly influence any of these things, so the share of blame or credit that belongs to me is exactly the same as any other competent adult in my culture.

I’m thinking about these things today because I’ve been made aware that members of a group to which I have been proud to belong have behaved in a way that I find not only unconscionable, but downright repugnant.  I am furious about this and, as a result, have distanced myself from the people in question because anything that I have to say to them right now is only going to make matters worse.

I’ve gone out of my way to apologize to the people who’ve been the target of this behavior, and they have been gracious and kind and have assured me that they in no way hold me responsible for the behavior of my fellows.  That’s not good enough, though, and I’m trying to figure a way that I can calm myself down sufficiently to point out to the perpetrators that their behavior not only reflects incredibly poorly on them, but on all of us who associate with them.


Filed under compassion and connection, concerns, critical thinking, frustrations, ideas and opinions, ruminating, technical difficulties, this is NOT a drill, WTF?!


My beloved celebrates his 50th trip around the sun today.

We, as humans, tend to put special emphasis on certain numbers over others.  The first birthday is a big one, and so are 5 and 10, and we in our culture like 16 and 18 and 21, but no one makes much of a fuss over 13, or 22, or 46.  The half-century mark seems like it should be a big deal – and I suppose it is just as a matter of principle because, let’s face it, not everyone makes it that far – but why should 50 be any more important than 49?  Or 51?

Regardless, I make a point of celebrating ALL my loved ones’ birthdays, and this one is certainly no exception.

My husband is, without question, my best and truest friend.  He is a constant source of encouragement, support, critique, and challenge for me and our two daughters.  He loves with a kind of matter-of-factness that continually surprises me; I still recall, with stunning clarity, the day I told him that I never expected to have this life that we share.  “Funny,” he said, “I always did.”

One of the things I treasure about my relationship with Mr. Chili is how much we can communicate without explanation – or, sometimes, even words.  We’ve been together so long – and so well – that we have an entire shared culture and our own private vocabulary.  We catch each other’s references, we understand each other’s jokes, we’re watchful for each other’s triggers, and we effortlessly pick up where we know the other will leave off.  The kind of trust that requires, and the kind of experiences that lead to it, are priceless.

My husband is the definition of a good man.  He gets what it means to be decent and strong and compassionate, and I think that he serves as an example to other men of what a good husband and father looks like.  I’ve said before that I worry that he’s setting the bar too high for my daughters – that they’ll never be able to find a guy as good as their dad – and every day he does something, just as a matter of course, that makes me stand by that assertion.

It is no surprise to anyone who reads here that I am desperately, deeply, and deliriously in love with my husband.  We fit, we work, and I am grateful, every day, for this man who makes me laugh, makes me think, and makes me feel loved.  My wish is that I do the same for him, and that he understands just how much the women in his life love him.

Happy birthday, Mr. Chili.  I love you.


*edited to include: Mr. Chili is currently on his way to Fenway with Auntie Chili.  He scored Monster seats for the game (his second in a week; he took his brother to the Green Monster on Monday).  Seeing a Sox game from the Monstah was on both of their bucket lists, and I can only imagine how silly-stupid happy they both are right now!**


Filed under admiration, celebration, compassion and connection, My husband rocks!

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten ways I unplug (because, MAN!  I’ve needed to unplug lately…)

1.  Movies.  We went to see MIB3 this weekend, and I heartily enjoyed myself.  I hadn’t been able to switch my gears for nearly a week, so the two hours or so I spent lost in another story (and giggling periodically) was a welcomed respite.

2.  Singing in the car.  Loudly.

3.  Long, hot showers.  Mr. Chili teases me that he can tell when I’m stressed out because when I emerge from the shower, my butt is pink and my shingles scar is glowing.  Something about scrubbing clean and rinsing hot makes me feel, even for just a little while, that I can scrape all the ugly off.

4.  Solitaire.  I only know how to play two games, and I prefer to play them on my phone (no cards to reset), but I find I can play for a good half hour before I realize I’ve lost that much time.

5.  Imgfave and Pinterest.  These things?  Black holes for entire afternoons.  Seriously.  I’m getting some great stuff for my walls and computer and iPad backgrounds, though…

6.  Cooking.  I wasn’t able to make cakes for the party this weekend (Mother Chili insisted on that job, and I didn’t have the energy to fight her for it), but Punk’s birthday is this Friday, so I’ll bake for her.  Cooking is therapy for me.

7.  Writing.  I haven’t done much of it yet – I’ve not really felt ready to get my thinking out of my head and on to the page – but it’s coming.

8.  Friends.  I’ve been well supported by my village, and it makes me want to weep with gratitude.

9.  Talking.  A lot of people (Mr. Chili leading the way) have done a lot of listening to me, and that’s helping me sort shit out.

10.  Reading.  I just enjoyed another trip through Octavia Butler’s Kindred and am looking forward to starting another novel tonight.

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Monday Meme

Thanks, Kwizgiver!

1. Have you felt that life is like being on a roller coaster?   CONSTANTLY.  Just when I think I’ve got a handle on shit, new shit comes up.  I’d like a break, but I don’t see one coming anytime soon.

2. Favorite year so far?  Ugh.  I hate these questions.  I make a concerted effort to be as happy as I can be where I am now.

3. Do you consider yourself religious?   You’ve met me, right?

4. How do you dress to impress?   When I’m feeling insecure, or when I’m going someplace fancy, I don nice clothes (usually a skirt and a blouse, though I do have some very pretty dresses), some pretty but comfortable shoes, and a little make-up.  I’ll sometimes add something sparkly, but that depends on the occasion.

5. Have you ever been to Connecticut?   Of course, though I’m mostly just passing through on my way to somewhere else.

6. Do you eat sushi?   Never.  I’m allergic to shellfish, and all fish makes me twtichy.

7. Would you smoke pot providing there was no risk or driving involved?   Probably not.  I tried it once when I was 34.  It didn’t work, so I didn’t see the appeal.

8. What do you think of Idol Winner Phillip Phillips??  I am proud to say that I’ve never watched an episode of Idol, so I have no idea who this person is.  He has an unfortunate name, though.

9. Do you believe that animals have souls?   Of course they do!

10. Who did you last talk to? Share, if you dare.   Why wouldn’t I dare?  My house is full of beloved family – us, Bruder, and Cousin Adam from England –  and we’ve been engaged in discussions about plans to meet the rest of the Clan Chili in Boston this afternoon.

11. What is one thing that always annoys you?   Ignorance, especially the self-righteous kind.

12. Do you believe in a higher being?   I can’t say that I do, though I DO believe that there’s more going on energetically than we’re conscious of.  I don’t think of there being ONE ultimate being, though; I think we all make up a collective, and once we figure out how to work together, WE’LL be that being.

13. Have you ever fallen in love with a neighbor?   Funny you should ask!  Mr. Chili was the boy next door in the apartment building where I lived in my 20s.

14. Any plans for this weekend?   As I mentioned earlier, we’re headed to Boston in a bit.  My hope is to wander about and spend time with family, then duck out early enough to get home and do some laying around while Mr. Chili and Bruder enjoy a birthday baseball game at Fenway.

15. Would you like to rule your country, if you could?   No.  I’ve got an inkling of the boss’s job, and I don’t want it.  I have no tolerance for the level of stupid and mean and scheming that one must put up with to be in charge.

16. Do you like watching films about the nature of animals?   I do, especially when they’re done well.  We watched bits and pieces of the Planet Earth program, and I heartily enjoyed that.

17. What’s the difference between lust and/or lust?   I think someone screwed up on this question.  Is it supposed to be “love and lust”?  Love is long-term; lust is temporary.

18. Do you have a soul?   Well, I’m a redhead, and I’m told we have no souls, but I know for sure that I do.

19. One best friend or many good friends?   I try to strive for a balance, but that seems to be eluding me lately.

20. Do you believe in spontaneous combustion?   I’ve watched too many Mythbusters to believe in spontaneous combustion; those boys have to work HARD to make things burst into flame.  Then again, if the conditions are exactly right…..?


Filed under Little Bits of Nothingness, meme

Quick Hit: Relief

I taught my first yoga class since my terrible, no good, rotten week happened. I left feeling much better than I did when I arrived. I’m so grateful for that part of my village; my yoga people vibe some good energy.

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They Come, They Eat, They Leave….

I’m preparing to host 23 of Mr. Chili’s family (which, if we’re being honest, is pretty much the entire party) for a cook out this afternoon (and, if we’re being honest, it’s really more like 22 because one of them is an infant).

Thank GOD the weather is cooperating!

I THINK I’ve got everything I need and, if I don’t, there’s a grocery store a minute and a half away.

Wish me luck!


Filed under backyard wildlife, cooking, doing my duty, family matters, this is NOT a drill

Quick Hit: TGIF

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